Worship in the Home: November 29, 2020

Posted on November 23, 2020 by ELCA Worship

Worship in the Home

First Sunday of Advent, Year B
November 29, 2020

In this time of world-wide crisis, congregations throughout this church are not able to gather for worship as the body of Christ. While you cannot be together in person, we can hear the word of God and hold each other in prayer. We offer this brief resource as an aid for prayer in the home. As with our prayers in the gathered assembly for worship, you are encouraged to prepare or adapt them locally for your context.

Find a peaceful place to pray, perhaps a table. During this season, you may wish to include an Advent wreath where you pray, and light one candle. You may light your Advent wreath each day this week. A prayer to use throughout the week appears at the end of this blog.

Then, one person may lead in this acclamation and then pray the Prayer of the Day.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all.

Let us pray.
A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection awaken us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and keep us blameless until the coming of your new day, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Then the readings for this day may be read, as follows:

First Reading:  Isaiah 64:1-9

1O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
2as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
3When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
4From ages past no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for you.
5You meet those who gladly do right,
those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
because you hid yourself we transgressed.
6We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7There is no one who calls on your name,
or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
8Yet, O LORD, you are as a father to us;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD,
and do not remember iniquity forever.
Now consider, we are all your people.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.


The Psalm may be sung or read in response to the First Reading.

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

1Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph | like a flock;
shine forth, you that are enthroned up- | on the cherubim.
2In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin,  | and Manasseh,
stir up your strength and | come to help us.
3Restore | us, O God;
let your face shine upon us, and we | shall be saved.
4O LORD | God of hosts,
how long will your anger fume when your | people pray?
5You have fed them with the | bread of tears;
you have given them bowls of | tears to drink.
6You have made us the derision | of our neighbors,
and our enemies laugh | us to scorn.
7Restore us, O | God of hosts;
let your face shine upon us, and we | shall be saved.
17Let your hand be upon the one at | your right hand,
the one you have made so strong | for yourself.
18And so will we never turn a- | way from you;
give us life, that we may call up- | on your name.
19Restore us, O LORD | God of hosts;
let your face shine upon us, and we | shall be saved.


Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

3Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5for in every way you have been enriched in Christ, in speech and knowledge of every kind—6just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you—7so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful, by whom you were called into the communion of the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.


Gospel: Mark 13:24-37

The holy gospel according to Mark.
Glory to you, O Lord.

[Jesus said:] 24“In those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
25and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26Then they will see ‘the Son-of-Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then the Son-of-Man will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

28“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

32“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34It is like someone going on a journey, who leaving home and putting the slaves in charge of their own work, commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the lord of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36or else coming suddenly, the lord may find you asleep. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.



Having read these readings, think on this:

Isaiah gives us words for the longings that are present in all the world: “O God, would that you would tear open the heavens and come down!” We are rightly afraid that our sins have delayed and hidden God’s coming to us with healing and hope. We know ourselves to be held by our iniquity rather than held by God, the merciful potter. But in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus joins us in not knowing when the day of healing will be. And in the very next chapter, the Gospel begins to tell of his death. We are to keep awake, like a doorkeeper watching for the return of the homeowner. Then the amazing thing happens. God does come: at evening in the supper when Jesus gives himself away and prays in the garden; at midnight when he is arrested; at cockcrow when he is denied; at dawn when he begins to be taken to the cross; and yet again at dawn when the women at the door of the tomb discover that he is risen. In Mark’s Gospel the heavens have been torn open and God has come among all the world’s suffering. Christ is with us still. Forgiven and strengthened by that word, as Paul says, we may wait for his full revealing. We are called to be doorkeepers still watching on behalf of all the needy world and yet bearing witness to God’s present mercy.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “My Lord, What a Morning” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 438 / This Far By Faith 40),Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 247), “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” (All Creation Sings 949). Links to hymns in the public domain are provided below.

My Lord What a Morning

Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning


Then pray these intercessions:

On this first Sunday of the church year, let us pray that God comes quickly to this weary world; we respond to each petition with words from today’s psalm, “Come to help us.”

A brief silence.

Immortal, invisible God only wise, we pray for the church, both our congregation and assemblies around the globe. Give us your life. Show us your presence. Grant us your wisdom. Shepherd for another year of grace our pastor(s), deacons, musicians, and all who minister in the church.

A brief silence.

Stir up your strength, O God.
Come to help us.

God of the sparrow, God of the whale, protect the animals, whether wild or farmed or tame. Restore devastated habitats and polluted waters. Calm the storms that devastate the coasts. Renew the face of the earth and our relationship to it.

A brief silence.

Stir up your strength, O God.
Come to help us.

Mighty Fortress, protect all people who are poor or oppressed. Grant that the leaders of nations respond with justice and relief to those who suffer. We pray especially for the people of Honduras. Bless all elected officials as they assume new leadership roles.

A brief silence.

Stir up your strength, O God.
Come to help us.

Beautiful Savior, abide with us during December. Give your beauty to our holiday preparations in this challenging season and your grace to the many who have little to celebrate this year.

A brief silence.

Stir up your strength, O God.
Come to help us.

Mothering God, visit with your power any who are homeless or unemployed, and all who are hungry. Protect children from all manner of abuse. Comfort those who live with chronic pain, anxieties, and addictions. We pray especially for . . . . Shape us to become your arms of mercy.

A brief silence.

Stir up your strength, O God.
Come to help us.

Healer of our every ill, save all peoples from the coronavirus. Sustain medical workers, and provide for hospitals and clinics. Heal the sick, accompany the dying, and comfort the mourners.

A brief silence.

Stir up your strength, O God.
Come to help us.

Rock of ages, we wait for you, we stand on you. Receive now our private prayers.

A longer period of silence.

Stir up your strength, O God.
Come to help us.

Lord of all hopefulness, we give thanks for all the faithful: for Andrew, the first disciple to follow Jesus; for those who died while waiting for justice and peace; for all who have died of COVID-19; and for those we name here before you. . . . At the end, bring us with them into your shining presence.

A brief silence.

Stir up your strength, O God.
Come to save us.

Eternal Father, strong to save, receive our prayers for the sake of your Son Jesus, who came, who comes, and who will come, to bring us life.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “Come Now, O Prince of Peace/Ososŏ, ososŏ(Evangelical Lutheran Worship 247), O Lord, How Shall I Meet You” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 241). Links to hymns in the public domain are provided below.

O Lord, How Shall I Meet You


Then conclude with these prayers:

Let us pray.
A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

Holy God,
the Beginning and the Ending, our Hope as we wait,
we praise you for joining us to your people of old.
We bless you for your prophets who call us to righteousness
and promise a new earth with peace for all.
For the Word of your covenant, we thank you, O God.
We thank you, O God.

We praise you for the coming of Jesus our Lord,
who lifts up the lowly, heals the suffering world,
and proclaims your way of mercy and truth.
For your Word who is Christ, we magnify you, O God.
We magnify you, O God.

Send your Spirit on all who receive your Word.
Nurture our faith with your grace,
accompany us with your might,
and empower our zeal for your justice and joy.
For your Word through the church, we praise you, O God.
We praise you, O God.

All praise to you, holy God,
today, tomorrow, and forever. Amen.


Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever.


Then speak the Blessing:

The Creator of the stars bless our Advent waiting,
the long-expected Savior fill us with love,
the unexpected Spirit guide our journey,
+ now and forever.


Here is a brief prayer to use as you light your candle on the Advent wreath this coming week:

Blessed are you, O God. Wake us up so that we are ready to greet our Lord Jesus when he comes, and prepare us to welcome him into our hearts and homes.


Devotional Music Links: For your individual or group devotion, you may choose to listen to the following choral recordings made available through Augsburg Fortress: “When He Comes on That Day;” “Drop Dew From Heaven;” “Let Desert Bloom.”


Readings for the Week:
Monday (Andrew, Apostle) John 1:35-42. Tuesday Revelation 18:1-10. Wednesday Micah 5:1-5a. Thursday Psalm (commemoration of Francis Xavier, missionary to Asia, 1552) Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13. Friday (commemoration of John of Damascus, theologian and hymnwriter, c. 749) Jeremiah 1:4-10. Saturday Ezekiel 36:24-28. Second Sunday of Advent (commemoration of Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, c. 342) Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8.

Daily Prayer Resources are available, including simple forms of Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer; Responsive Prayer; and prayers for mealtimes and other occasions.

Due to copyright restrictions, we are only able to provide downloadable hymns that are in the public domain. Other suggestions provided above may be found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship. To purchase copies of Evangelical Lutheran Worship and All Creation Sings for the home, visit the Augsburg Fortress website or call 1-800-328-4648. Selected hymns from All Creation Sings will be provided for limited use.

Reflection text: Gordon Lathrop. Intercessory Prayer: Gail Ramshaw

Portions from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, sundaysandseasons.com, and Families Celebrate Advent & Christmas 2020-21 © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress.

Readings from Readings for the Assembly © 1995, 1996, 1997 Augsburg Fortress. Citations from the Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 Consultation on Common Texts. Scripture quotations from NRSV Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, adapted and edited with permission by Gordon Lathrop and Gail Ramshaw.

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